Hot on the heels of the arrival of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8.7, Red Hat has released the next version of its RHEL 9 family, RHEL 9.1.
What is the difference? Why two versions of an enterprise Linux distribution? While under the hood there are many specific differences, the main one is that the RHEL 8 distribution family is based on older, proven code. RHEL 9, however, is based on the cutting-edge CentOS Stream Linux distribution. So, in short, RHEL 8 is what you use if you prefer stability over innovation, while RHEL 9 is the distro for those who want the latest and greatest stable code.
For example, as Gunnar Hellekson, vice president and general manager of RHEL at Red Hat, put it, “As enterprise computing expands to encompass traditional hardware, multiple public cloud environments, and peripherals devices, the complexity increases in parallel. The latest releases of Red Hat Enterprise Linux continue our commitment to making hybrid cloud computing more than accessible, yet powerful at global enterprise scale by combining reliability and stability with features designed for innovation and flexibility.”
RHEL 9.1 also puts security first. That’s a good thing with security disasters on all sides of us.
Specifically, RHEL 9.1 and 8.7 come with preconfigured Linux images designed to meet specific OpenSCAP security requirements. OpenSCAP is an open source project for scanning programs for security issues and configuring default security configurations. For example, the default RHEL 9.x OpenSCAP is configured to use Postfix as the standard mail server with specific configurations to make it safer to use. It also discourages you from using the tried and tested, but not very secure, Sendmail server.
The new RHEL also includes multi-level security (MLS) support for agencies or other sensitive operations to better document and control classification needs. Red Hat Insights, Red Hat’s security service, bundled with RHEL, also has a malware scanner. Additionally, RHEL now comes with the Sigstore Software Bill of Materials (SBOM) service to recheck your native container for unauthorized programs.
For the security conscious, you want to use RHEL’s SELinux mode. This new version comes with SELinux 3.4. The most significant changes include:
- Improved relabeling performance with parallel relabeling
- Support for SHA-256 encryption in the semodule tool
- New policy utilities in the libsepol-utils package
Together, this makes SELinux easier to use and more secure than ever.
Going back to Insights, Red Hat Smart Management now combines Red Hat Satellite, the operating system’s default manual configuration and management tool, with Insight’s remediation plans. This makes it easier to perform recommended and repetitive lifecycle management tasks.
If you prefer, you can also use the latest version of Ansible DevOps to run your RHEL 9.1 instances. A new feature that I particularly like with this edition of Ansible is that you can remotely check the boot environment of an RHEL system. Again, it’s all about safety.
Also: Linux devices are “increasingly” attacked by hackers
As always, the latest RHEL comes with the latest coding tools, container tools, computer languages, compilers, open source databases, and web and cache servers.
- GCC-toolset 12 and the GCC 12 to RHEL 8 compiler.
- New updates to the Rust toolset, LLVM toolset, and Go toolset.
- Ruby 3.1, Maven 3.8. .NET 7 and Node.js 18.
- The major PHP 8.1 language update.
Finally, you have more time to plan your RHEL lifecycle upgrades. RHEL simplifies planning for your operating system’s long-term needs by supporting two-year Extended Update Support (EUS). Specifically, Leapp now supports in-place upgrades to the latest RHEL versions, while Convert2RHEL now supports more flexible concurrent landing versions.
Ready to run RHEL 9.1? If you already have an RHEL subscription, you can get it through the Red Hat Customer Portal. For more details, see the RHEL 9.1 release notes and technical blog posts.
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